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Anagramas -Rumbos y sentidos de la comunicación-

versão impressa ISSN 1692-2522


SARRAZIN, Jean Paul. The idealization of alterity: reflections on its foundations in Western History. anagramas rumbos sentidos comun. [online]. 2017, vol.16, n.31, pp.229-246. ISSN 1692-2522.

Just as the natives of lands colonized by Europeans were considered "wild" or "slow," they have also been the object of praise that has gone as far as idealization, and that have emerged especially among the intellectual elites of European origin. This last type of discourses and imaginaries, relatively rare and scarcely studied, seems to be opposed to racism and would invite an appreciation of cultural diversity. However, this article aims to propose a critical analysis of this praise of alterity, which, contrary to what is usually believed, is not a recent intellectual advance, but a discourse based on ancient pre-modern myths. To achieve this goal, a hermeneutic analysis of the discourses of authors and collectives recognized in the West, who have resorted to positively connoted terms to describe the cultures of non-European peoples was made. In these discourses, some general patterns were observed, which allowed them to be related to mythical structures of long duration, such as the Christian myth of the Garden of Eden and the Greek-Latin myth of a Golden Age. As an extension of this, today we can consider the Other "natural" and "traditional" as the example of an admirable human being. However, in this article it is concluded that such representations, although nowadays considered as politically correct, are based on specialized versions of alterity, which in reality reproduce hegemonic ideals and contribute to hide the complexity of the cultural diversity.

Palavras-chave : alterity; social representations; discourses; modernity; essentialism; cultural diversity; identity; mythology; cultural hegemony.

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